Dubai. The word is on everyone's lips - even those who will be visiting IBC. This is the little emirate in the Middle East that has some of the trimmings of Vegas but comes with something that no country in Europe or the West will ever be able to offer - a tax-free business environment where businesses can reinvest their profits into their company.
For the first time at IBC, this burgeoning emirate will be represented at the show by Dubai Studio City - a huge initiative from the government of Dubai to lure the broadcast and production industry and their respective value chains.
After the huge success of Dubai Media City, which has a waiting list of 400 clients, Dubai decided to launch this initiative to cater to the needs of the broadcast industry, which needed more power and better studios.
The emirate is gradually becoming more expensive and rumour has it that several broadcasters are planning to move to free zones like Jordan and Egypt. But these countries will not be attractive to businesses unless they eradicate red tape.
Take Jordan's private TV channel, ATV, for instance. The channel was ready for launch early this summer, but a day before it was to begin its official broadcast, the audio-visual commission of Jordan pulled it up and demanded documents relating to technical permits and frequencies. These were followed by calls from the Telecommunications Regulatory Commission of Jordan to complete more paperwork. The last straw was when state broadcaster, Jordan Radio and Television Corporation commented that its April 2006 agreement with ATV permitted only terrestrial transmission and not satellite broadcasts.
Clearly, this gives the country bad press. If this is how long it takes an established Jordanian media magnate like Mohammed Alayyan to launch a channel, what must be the fate of other smaller businesses?
Dubai got rid of the red tape a long time ago. One example of this is shooting in Dubai. The emirate now has a Location Approval Services (LAS) Department that assists crews with visas, getting permissions with government and private bodies, hiring equipment and getting hotel accommodation at cheaper prices. This is what makes Dubai attractive. I believe that at IBC, visitors who visit the booth will see why Dubai makes an ideal hub from which to cater to the rest of the Middle East.